By Eric Schmidt

The Cleveland Browns launch to the 2012 season has gotten off to a rocky start, to put it mildly. Three key players are already suspect for the club before the team even plays their first exhibition contest. The Browns announced this week that 28-year old rookie Brandon Weedon will be the team’s starting quarterback heading into the 2012 campaign, but the team will be without several other key players on the roster.

The Browns have lost LB Chris Gocong for the season after he tore his Achilles tendon. Gocong was the Browns’ third leading tackler last season with 70 tackles. He will be missed on the defensive side of the ball for the Browns. He has recorded 145 total tackles and 5.5 sacks in his two seasons with the Browns.

Third-year CB Joe Haden could be facing a possible four-game suspension from the NFL. It was reported earlier this week that he tested positive for the drug, Adderall. When asked by reporters about his possible suspension, Haden responded, “It’s really a league matter and I comment at all.” Haden is a very talented corner. In his first season with the Browns, he recorded six interceptions but teams are now throwing away from his coverage, as evidenced as he wasn’t able to record a single pick in 2011. He helped to contribute to the Browns second ranked pass defense in 2011.An exceptional feat for a team which plays against Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton six times a season.

Rookie RB Trent Richardson is undergoing another knee surgery this afternoon. Richardson was selected with the third overall pick of the 2012 Draft, and was expected to be the cornerstone of the Browns offense this season. Despite claims from Richardson and the Browns organization that this procedure is minor, it needs to be of concern. This is the second time in six months that doctors have explored the inner workings of Richardson’s knee.

A franchise, which has struggled for success on the field, could now start the 2012 season in a deep hole with the loss of three players which figure to be key contributors on the gridiron for the Browns. Gocong will be lost for the entire season, Haden and Richardson could miss time at the start of the season, something the Browns fans are not excited about.






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